The introduction of more robotics and digital technologies in greenhouse horticulture will change the competitive positions and power relations in the supply chain in the long-term, a report from Dutch bank Rabobank predicts. “That produces winners and losers,” it says.
Other possible drawbacks are increasing dependence on large software companies, risks of breaches in cyber security and consumer resistance to ‘industrially’ produced food or to a narrower range of products.
Nor will artificial intelligence be a panacea for resolving labour shortages, says the report. But it will make the management of larger and more international companies easier, and see suppliers and customers working more closely. Crop quality will improve through, for instance, earlier detection and more precise treatment of pests and disease. “All of this has great potential that is difficult to estimate,” it says.
The report says robot development is dependent on the input of growers, who need to be aware about who owns and uses the data the AI collects.
Read more news and features from the protected crop industry in our monthly publication The Commercial Greenhouse Grower.